March 21, 2012 — Each year on Founder's Day – Thomas Jefferson's birthday – the University of Virginia plants a tree to honor an individual who made a significant contribution to U.Va. This year the University will pay tribute to professor emeritus Mario di Valmarana, who died in October 2010.
Di Valmarana, a native of Venice, was a talented architect, educator and leader in historic preservation. He joined the U.Va. School of Architecture faculty in 1972 for what was intended to be a three-month appointment. The University remained his academic home until his retirement in 2000. .
The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on the lower level of the Lawn, in front of Rouss Hall, where a red maple will be planted. The event is free and open to the public; parking will be available in the Culbreth Road Garage.
When Jefferson designed the Academical Village and Rotunda, he studied the laws of architecture set down by Italian architect Andrea Palladio, who also designed the Villa Capra-La Rotunda in Vicenza – di Valmarana's family home, built in 1560. Di Valmarana presented students the opportunity to learn about Palladio's architecture firsthand with the creation and implementation of the school's Venice and Vicenza programs, known collectively as the Veneto programs. Di Valmarana also generously shared his childhood home with visiting students, even after his retirement.
His numerous achievements in teaching and scholarship were recognized by his selection to the University's oldest and most prestigious honor society, the Raven Society. After retiring, he continued his service to the University as a board member to the School of Architecture Foundation.
The Board of Visitors established the Mario di Valmarana Professorship in the School of Architecture in 2001. It was made possible by gifts from friends and former students of di Valmarana and from the Center for Palladian Studies in America. Today the University honors his legacy through the Veneto Society, a donor recognition society for those supporting the Veneto programs and Valmarana professorship.
Visit the Office of Major Events for details on Founder's Day activities.